Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act is apparently a serious business. How serious? As relayed by Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku, it’s serious enough to warrant arrests. A report from Japanese publication Asahi News indicates that an unemployed 23-year-old Nagoya resident was arrested for allegedly selling a hacked Sobble from Pokémon Sword and Shield, and it is believed that he had been selling modded Pokémon for a year-long period concluding last November. He has reportedly confessed to selling the Sobble.
The man had used a computer to create the hacked Sobble for Pokémon Sword and Shield and then sold it for 4,400 yen ($41.74). However, it is apparently believed that the man earned 1,150,000 yen ($10,908) across the full span of his hacking, which is quite a racket for selling some nuggets of data that aren’t, say, state secrets or trade secrets.
No additional information has been shared. It would take a more complex understanding of the Japanese legal system than we have to determine how bizarre or extreme this arrest might actually be in their culture, but it’s pretty easy to say that the situation seems odd from the perspective of a westerner. Companies in the United States are more than happy to threaten you with enormous fines for misusing their property, but the authorities placing an arrest — for something like hacking a Sobble in Pokémon Sword and Shield no less — seems awfully uncommon.